Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dr. Kevin Sharpe, Union Institute & University Professor, was Founding Editor of Science and Spirit Magazine


Dr. Kevin Sharpe, a core professor at Union Institute & University’s (UI&U) Graduate College, died Thursday, November 6, of cancer, in New Plymouth, New Zealand. The longtime UI&U doctoral faculty member was 58.

Sharpe began his career at UI&U in 1987. “Kevin was a vibrant colleague and scholar who personified the tradition of the UI&U hallmark quality of interdisciplinary perspective/ inquiry,” said fellow faculty member, Dr. Larry Ryan. “Kevin had a way of stimulating learners – and colleagues – to look beyond usual explanations and rationales to discover new meaning and new knowledge.”

Throughout his more than 20 years as professor, Kevin supervised numerous dissertations and also served as the chairman of the concentration chairs in UI&U’s pre-cohort Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program since 2005. He was an ultimate lifelong learner, Union scholar, and interdisciplinarian, having merged a deeply scientific mind with his spirituality. His impressive CV details his activities and accomplishments, but notable achievements include his work as founding editor of Science & Spirit Magazine and its companion Web site and recipient of a major multi-million dollar grant to fund the magazine from the prestigious John Templeton Foundation in 1995. Having been ordained as an Anglican priest in 1976, he wrote often about this topic, and served as co-director of the Oxford Institute for Science and Spirit, president of Science & Spirit Resources, Inc., and vice president for Interdisciplinary Affairs at the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. “He believed that we as humans are most of all meaning makers and that the way to show our love for our world is by continuing to explore it, coming to know more, and then asking more questions so that our explorations never end,” said his wife, UI&U alumna Leslie Van Gelder.

Sharpe earned a B.S. in mathematics, a master of divinity, a master of theology, and two Ph.D.s; one in mathematics from La Trobe University in Australia and the other in religious studies from Boston University. He served as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science in Chicago, a director of the Institute for Emerging Physics and Biology, a member of the editorial advisory boards for the Anthropology of Consciousness, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, and the Center for Humility Theology at the John Templeton Foundation. In addition, he was the author of more than 130 journal articles and a number of books, including Science of God: Truth in the Age of Science, Sleuthing the Divine: The Nexus of Science and Spirit, David Bohm’s World: New Physics and New Religion, and Has Science Displaced the Soul? Debating Love and Happiness. And, among his many interests was the exploration of the early cave paintings and markings, a topic he taught, lectured, and wrote about extensively.

“Kevin made a difference in many of our lives, touching countless learners and colleagues at Union and beyond. Obviously, he learned a long time ago how to celebrate the very best of the human spirit, and every interaction available to us,” said UI&U President Dr. Roger H. Sublett. “His considerable intellect was complimented by a deep spiritual caring which, from my experience, is unique among academicians. I admired both in him, and know that it served him well.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother, Pamela Sharpe; his sister, Karen; daughters Miriam and Kiri and their husbands; and his only grandson, Max. His father, James Henry Sharpe, passed away earlier this year. Messages and well wishes for the family can be sent to Leslie Van Gelder Box 111 Glenorchy 9350 (or leslievg@ksharpe.com). Donations can be made in Kevin’s name to the New Zealand Cancer Society, to the Quebec Labrador Foundation in the US, and Harris Manchester College in the UK.

Services and burial will be held on Thursday, November 13 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

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